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New City Catechism 9.2

Question 9: What does God require in the first, second, and third commandments?

Answer: First, that we know and trust God as the only true and living God. Second, that we avoid all idolatry and do not worship God improperly. Third, that we treat God’s name with fear and reverence, honoring also his Word and works.

True and proper worship of God is something that he takes very seriously. The second commandment, which forbids images as objects of worship, makes this point abundantly clear, for it not only forbids images of false gods, but also images of the one true God as well. We cannot properly worship God by imagining and portraying him as whatever we want him to be. Israel learned that lesson the hard way after imagining God as a golden calf. True worship must be shaped as a response to God’s revelation in his Word. This is why the reading and exposition of Scripture are central to the practice of worship, for it is in Scripture that we hear God speak to us directly, telling us who he is and how we may approach him, namely, through his Son alone.

Suggested passage for family or personal reading: Leviticus 10:1-3. Why do you think God reacted so strongly to the actions of Nadab and Abihu? What does this story teach us about God’s holiness? How does it point us to Christ?

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